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On Assignment: Memoir of a National Geographic Filmmaker

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An exciting adventure story with personal drama and high stakes, as well as a glimpse behind the scenes of the highly regarded National Geographic brand Jim and Elaine Larison spent years studying, exploring, and living in wild places, making more than thirty environmental films, most for the National Geographic Society. These films won more than forty international awards An exciting adventure story with personal drama and high stakes, as well as a glimpse behind the scenes of the highly regarded National Geographic brand Jim and Elaine Larison spent years studying, exploring, and living in wild places, making more than thirty environmental films, most for the National Geographic Society. These films won more than forty international awards from leading environmental and broadcast organizations. This memoir tells the story behind the adventure and describes the rather substantial personal costs of this career. While shooting film in Alaska, Jim Larison narrowly survived a devastating airplane crash in the Bering Sea. Later, while filming on the Great Barrier Reef, the Larisons fought off an aggressive twelve-foot tiger shark. Midway through their careers, the Larisons were nearly swept to their deaths by an icefall while filming on Mount Robson. A thrilling adventure story, full of risk and personal conflict, On Assignment is also a touching look at the tender bonds that held the married couple together while they struggled to complete their many film assignments. The Larisons were changed by what they saw and what they captured on film: the destruction of forests, the death of coral reefs, and global warming. In the beginning, the Larisons wanted nothing more than to spend time in the wilderness. By the end, they were fighting for its very survival.


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An exciting adventure story with personal drama and high stakes, as well as a glimpse behind the scenes of the highly regarded National Geographic brand Jim and Elaine Larison spent years studying, exploring, and living in wild places, making more than thirty environmental films, most for the National Geographic Society. These films won more than forty international awards An exciting adventure story with personal drama and high stakes, as well as a glimpse behind the scenes of the highly regarded National Geographic brand Jim and Elaine Larison spent years studying, exploring, and living in wild places, making more than thirty environmental films, most for the National Geographic Society. These films won more than forty international awards from leading environmental and broadcast organizations. This memoir tells the story behind the adventure and describes the rather substantial personal costs of this career. While shooting film in Alaska, Jim Larison narrowly survived a devastating airplane crash in the Bering Sea. Later, while filming on the Great Barrier Reef, the Larisons fought off an aggressive twelve-foot tiger shark. Midway through their careers, the Larisons were nearly swept to their deaths by an icefall while filming on Mount Robson. A thrilling adventure story, full of risk and personal conflict, On Assignment is also a touching look at the tender bonds that held the married couple together while they struggled to complete their many film assignments. The Larisons were changed by what they saw and what they captured on film: the destruction of forests, the death of coral reefs, and global warming. In the beginning, the Larisons wanted nothing more than to spend time in the wilderness. By the end, they were fighting for its very survival.

30 review for On Assignment: Memoir of a National Geographic Filmmaker

  1. 4 out of 5

    M

    Very interesting with lots of adventure. Not quite as impressive as 9 days plus Mt Rintoul but it will do.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sinead Osborne

    This book surprised me. I was fully hooked on all of the adventures and loved where the story took me in every turn. A nice full circle from start to finish.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kait Vanderlaan

    On Assignment is a memoir by James R. Larison, a National Geographic Filmmaker. This book was full of adventure and I loved hearing about all of author’s travels and lengths to catch the perfect shot. Some chapters had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know how life threatening situations in the wilderness would end. What a beautiful combination of adventure mixed with the author’s family life and navigating his career. Definitely recommend!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dale Bentz

    It is not only through film that Larison can weave a fascinating story. His prose draws the reader into his world, captivating his audience, as his stunning adventures come to life jumping from the pages of his book into the imagination of a grateful reader. Bravo to this brave adventurer and his lifelong quest to bring the world around us into clear focus and to stress the importance of living in harmony with (as opposed to opposition to) nature.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Floyd Dunlap

    What a good life! What a good life ,well lived ! Not too many people get to work at a job they love, let alone have the family along for two ride. Interesting story line,we need to definitely change our ways for our planet,and generations to come!! This book is worthy of your time, read it!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    Some amazing adventures in the life of this nature filmmaker. I was in chapter 3 and was surprised that he was still alive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Honey

    Loved the descriptions of the natural world and all the wild adventures. Held my breath during one whole chapter (Tiger Shark!) and held back tears during several others. Fantastic read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Raj Aich

    Left after 2nd chapter. Pretty mundane.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Art

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ipsita D

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin Louise

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  13. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Biscarret

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bookwormsince81

  15. 4 out of 5

    James Ower

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shira Hill

  17. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nadav

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barb

  20. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Berezin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Holly Barker

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alice

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chamod Weerasinghe

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gail Burger

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emma Andersson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

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